Post by Vanessa Cronan and Nicole Galipeau (@guiteraslibrary.)
As we entered a new school year, we identified that our students have a zone of comfort when it comes to reading choices. We all have those students who fall into a reading rut – either it be reading only graphic novels, books from a certain series, or only non-fiction books.
This made us think: How can we promote reading a wider variety of books?
In order to guide our students to thoughtfully select a variety of books, we devised a project to leverage a digit tool to emphasize personal learning by connecting with their peers. We wanted to be careful to not take away or dictate their choice of books, but rather we wanted our students to self select new books outside their regular routine choices based on their peers posts and comments.
We decided to use Padlet as our digital tool because it allowed our students to simultaneously post, read and comment in a kid friendly and visually appealing way. It was important that the structure of the digital tool would make posting, reading, and commenting efficient. The transparency of having the students use this tool enabled us teachers to manage the workflow and privacy protections, as well as the content being posted by the students.
At the end of the week, students would use Padlet to post a summary of their nightly reading for that week. By using Padlet, students could read each others post and comment on their post. We hoped that by seeing each other’s post on a variety of books, students curiosity would drive them to select a book outside their reading comfort zone. We were looking for evidence that our students were actively engaged in their nightly reading as well.
As the project progressed, the students took ownership of the criteria. They voiced concerns about their peers sharing too much of the book. They mutually agreed that their would be no spoilers in their posts. This proved that authentic peer feedback changed the students reading choices. Students were being inspired by their own peers to read a variety of books and get out of the rut. Students sought out books that their peers posted on Padlet proving peer connections led to increasing the variety of students’ reading choices in the classroom and school library.
Want to use Padlet with your students? Here is a workflow tutorial.
Need a Peer Review Protocol? Here is the one we used.
Want to learn more about the project that this blog post is based on? Here is a video overview.
Vanessa Cronan is a Grade 4 Teacher at Guiteras Elementary School.